Wednesday, November 21, 2007
give some thanks
Three years ago, I entered the MTC, and now I'm married, knocked up, and halfway through law school, so yes it's been a helluva few years. Since Thanksgiving's approaching, I'm going to take a few minutes to be a cheese, and it's my blog so I'll cheese if I want to, cheese if I want to, cheese if I want to (begin singing Leslie Gore's 1963 smash hit, It's My Party)...
I'm going to steal Marlin K. Jensen's statement from the PBS Mormons documentary because it captures my feelings exactly. Talking about his mission, he said:
"That was the moment, really, when my hope and my tender belief turned into something really solid, which has been the foundation for the rest of my life. It's what motivates me. It's what gets me up in the morning. It's what carries me in the duties that I do. It's what gives me joy and satisfaction from knowing that my way in life is the way I should be going. And it came about in that moment. So when people say, "How was your mission?," I say it was everything, because I've never been the same since that little moment."
I had 2 Thanksgivings on my mission, the first one in the MTC and the second one in a trailer park. The second one was the best ever; we had breakfast with a family of little kids where I watched the 5 year old pick up every single muffin in the bowl, smell it, lick it, and put it back. His sister's hands were red with koolaid or something, and she climbed up on the counter and patted the thawing turkey, then sucked her fingers, then started touching our faces. And you know what? We just laughed and hugged her and it wasn't gross, it was endearing. We served at the Joseph Smith Farm that afternoon, then for dinner, we went to a trailer park across town for some lumpy punch, meatballs and ham. Their dog pooped on some newspaper in the hallway and they just threw it away and laid some more newspaper down. One of the nicest, most down-home days of my life.
And I remember how overwhelmed I was three years ago, when I didn't know what I was getting into, and just sat in some stuffy classroom in the MTC, prayerful and hopeful but with no clue what was coming...and it ended up being 10,000 times better than I could have imagined, with crazy ups and downs and more joy than I knew was possible. And on top of all that, I later had the privilege of marrying a champion, which was even better than the happiest happy I'd felt before. So I remember those MTC-feelings of uncertainty about the future, and feeling inadequate and 12 years old on the inside, and I look down at my growing belly and feel the same uncertainty, the same inadequacy, the same "Wait, I'm actually 12, this is a mistake" but times a billion, because this is a little person we are responsible for. And sure, it's only the size of a large mango right now, but this kid is going to have a life that we're supposed to help with. And I don't know yet if it's a he-baby or a she-baby, but I look down and wonder who our baby will be, and what our baby will see, and if it'll ever know how much we love it, and I'm overwhelmed at how much I want our kid to feel what I felt on my mission, and I'm scared we'll mess him or her up very badly, and then I remember my mission, and Thankgiving, and what good care God has always taken of me, and I feel better.